Similar to AdaBox 010, there isn’t much here in terms of assembly or physical experimentation using different parts, but the PyPortal is a really cool new device from Adafruit. It’s built for IoT projects, with:
3.2″ touchscreen to display info and interact with the device
ESP32 co-processor to handle Wi-Fi connections
Analog Devices ADT7410 temperature sensor
SAMD51 to handle all of the processing, compatible with CircuitPython, which makes it fun and easy to program
Laser cut acrylic enclosure/stand
They’ve also included a 1 year pass to adafruit.io. I’ll likely turn this into something that interfaces with my Home Assistant server to control different devices around my house.
I haven’t done much in terms of electronics, woodworking, or making in general for the last couple of months. I think I burned out a bit when I caught up on so many projects over November, December, and January. I’ll get back to making soon!
The final thing sitting on my hobby desk from this summer was Quarterly (now out of business) Maker Box #10. There were several items related to the sky and space (same thing?) and a project with the materials to make a CD Spectroscope, which can be used to analyze light.
This is way cooler than I expected. Here are some examples…
This is the penultimate project from Boldport Club before they move away from the subscription model. It is called Capaci-meter and is project #31. I’m really sad to see the Club changing because I’ve enjoyed the projects a lot more than any of the other electronics kits and the PCBs are so beautiful. It’ll be interesting to see where it goes.
After having issues with my Hakko FX-888D soldering iron, I finally did some troubleshooting and by using a meat thermometer I determined the tips weren’t getting hot enough. Then I found the device actually has an adjustment mode which lets it compensate. Works great now and is so much better than that cheap iron I’ve been using for other recent projects.
It’s great when the project produces a useful device like this for testing the value of capacitors.
More catching up on electronics stuff that was piled on my desk. Here I unboxed AdaBoxes 8 and 10. Then I assembled 10, which is a sweet device, and loaded some of the code examples. Skip ahead to 17:23 if you only want to check out the demos.
In the past I mentioned I might cancel my AdaBox subscription, which I did after box #8. On social media and in their YouTube shows Adafruit has been pretty much telling you what’s in the next box, which has been nice. I knew #9, based on their HalloWing board, didn’t interest me. Then when I realized #10 was going to be the NeoTrellis and subscriptions were still open late in the quarter I jumped in. I plan to make a game-time decision each quarter from here on out.
I recently mentioned I was considering cancelling my subscription to HackerBoxes. Turns out the owner of the company made that decision much easier with the way he treats customers. Box #0030 is my last one.
The HB owner came up with some crazy conspiracy theory that all of his most active customers were trying to run him out of business. He started attacking us and censored us from helping other people in the community. You can see what the owner says in this deleted subreddit thread (also on the Internet Archive in case that page gets removed).
He also jumped into the comments on one of my unboxing videos and started making a bunch of incorrect assumptions about me and attacking me. It was so outrageous I thought it was a YouTube troll and I blocked the account soon after the 2nd comment came through so other HB customers to see the garbage this person was saying. Later that night I found out it was the owner! I wish I had saved those comments.
If you’re a HB subscriber or thinking to start you can decide for yourself if it’s a company you want to support. I won’t be giving my money to someone who treats customers like this. It’s disappointing because the concept is sound, I learned a lot, and there were some fun projects. If HB embraced and appreciated their community it could be an awesome way for people to learn about electronics.
The community has moved over HardWareFlare. Discord info is there as well, which is very active.
I’ve restarted my subscription to AdaBox and I suggest you check them out. Adafruit actually cares about people. Their next box (8) will be all about building robots. Another subscription electronics service I’m enjoying is Boldport Club, which comes once a month.
It’s disappointing that HackerBoxes resold us a popular kit that you can get for $15-20. I’ve seen these LED cubes many times online and while they do look awesome, I never bought one because I didn’t think I’d have the patience to put one together. I guess I’ll get the chance now.
I’ll probably try to do a time-lapse of this assembly, which is going to take a long time.
When Adafruit hinted that AdaBox #007 would have a spy theme I was excited. I did a time-lapse of the unboxing this time since they do their own unboxing (scheduled some time next week) which is much better than listening to me talk.
This box has more content than any other box so far.
Large Padlock & 9 Piece Lockpick Kit
Software Defined Radio USB Receiver with Antenna
Adafruit GEMMA M0
USB Cable – 6″ A/MicroB
AAA Battery Holder with On/Off Switch
3 AAA Batteries
Fast Vibration Sensor Switch
Panel Mount 10K Potentiometer + Knob
Invisible Ink Pen
5mm Purple UVA LED
IR (Infrared) Receiver Sensor
5mm Super-bright IR LED
0.1mm Magnet Wire
Digikey Digi-Keyer Puzzle
Digikey Web Cam Cover
EFF Multisticker Sheet
2600 Magazine: The Hacker Quarterly
Boldport Club Cad Sticker
I’ve always wanted a lock pick set and the clear padlock seems like a cool way to learn. I’ll have to make some videos once I start learning how to pick locks.
Even with this box being one of the better ones, I think I’m going to cancel because I have built up quite a collection of Adafruit microcontrollers and other components. I need to start building projects that I actually use around the house instead of just tinkering and taking everything apart after I learn. I like the subscription, but they’ve left me wanting more because it really is focused on the beginner. Not saying I’m an expert by any stretch of the imagination but I have so many of the things included in most of the boxes now.
I can’t help myself and have already subscribed to a different monthly electronics kit. More on that in a few days.
I like it when the new HackerBox shows up on a weekend.
I always see electronics projects for making some kind of digital synthesizer to generate sounds so it seems to be a common project. It’s one I’ve never done, so I’m looking forward to experimenting with this box.
I haven’t done an assembly video on a HackerBox in months. I have received some comments that they are really helpful for beginners, so I’m going to try to do one each month, which will also push me to complete the kits sooner. With all of the surface mount components this is a really good box to start with.